The Pool (game)

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The Pool
Designer(s) James V. West
Publisher(s) None
Publication date 2000
Genre(s) Universal

The Pool is a universal independent role-playing game which was written in year 2000 by James V. West.

The Pool facilitates narrativist role-playing, that is, role-playing which focuses on players as protagonists in thematically charged stories. The game uses an open trait system and conflict resolution instead of task resolution (that is, dice rolls determine whether a character's overall intent is achieved, rather than whether a specific attempted action is successful).


The Pool is based on a dice pool with several six-sided dice (d6). Every player begins with a die supply of 15d6 which changes during character creation and play.

Character creation[edit]

Players define their characters by choosing the characters' motives. These may be attributes and skills like in classic RPGs, but as well archetypes ("greedy businessman"), traits ("depressive"), relationships ("married"), or other stats ("likes Tex-Mex food"). Every of these motives has a value of 1 to 3, which must be bought from the initial die supply of 15d6. The costs are value^2. A motive of 1 would cost one d6, a motive of 2 four d6 and a motive of 3 nine d6. Dice exchanged for motives can't be used during play.

Conflict resolution[edit]

Conflicts are actions whose denouements aren't clear, like climbing up a wall. The basic dice pool for every action is the value of an appropriate value, or 0 if there isn't an appropriate one. The player can increase his chances by using dice from his die supply. The game master can add 1-3 more dice for this action, depending on the importance of the conflict for the ongoing of the story. If at least one 1 is rolled the action succeeds, otherwise all dice rolled for this action are lost. After a lucky denouement, the player gets 1-3 dice from the GM to add to his pool and the GM tells the denouement. The player can also reject the die and instead hold a so-called "Monologue of Victory," allowing the player to tell the denouement of the conflict.


If a player has 9 dice or more left in his pool at the end of a session, he starts the next session with the same number. If he has fewer than 9 dice, he can start the next session with 9 dice in his pool. The player can use this supply to buy new motives or to increase old ones. The costs are the same as at character creation. The die which are remaining after increasing the stats build directly the die supply for the next session.

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